Bodour Al Qasimi receives Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah


Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi and Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi tour the House of Wisdom in Sharjah.
Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: On a recent visit to Sharjah’s new iconic cultural landmark — House of Wisdom (HoW) — Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President, International Publishers Association (IPA) received Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth. During her visit, the minister gained a deeper insight into ways this first-of-its-kind social hub in the region has been built as an immersive space for accessing knowledge and learning, cultural exchange and creative pursuits.

Sheikha Bodour and Al Kaabi were accompanied by Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, Shurooq; Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director of HoW; Dr. Rashid Khalfan Al Nuaimi, Executive Director of Media Regulatory Office; and Aliaa Al Qasimi, Acting Assistant Undersecratery for the Culture and Creative Industries Sector.

The tour offered a comprehensive overview of HoW’s key features — an impressive collection of physical and digital resources including rare books, its multipurpose halls, spaces dedicated for reading, working, hosting events and exhibitions, fabrication laboratories, and an advanced printing facility.

“Societies advance when they are able to learn from and fully appreciate their history and culture, and know more about the individuals whose invaluable contributions in the past laid the foundations from our present and future. The amalgamation of past achievements with our plans for the future is the premise behind HoW’s overarching vision. That is why this futuristic space for learning is named after the ‘House of Wisdom’ in Baghdad, which was a beacon of knowledge during the Golden Age of Islam,” Sheikha Bodour noted.

‘Future model’

The minister added: “The House of Wisdom defines the model of the future library, globally. It is not merely a place for reading and research, but also an immersive space for collaborative learning that provides opportunities for interaction and experimentation to unleash capacities and talents, and foster self-development.”

During the tour, Marwa Al Aqroubi briefed Al Kaabi on the integration of physical spaces with smart, intuitive and extremely user-friendly technologies at HoW. The monumental library, she added, will be home to 305,000 traditional and digital resources in various formats, languages, and genres. Of these, 105,000 will be physical books and includes 100 Braille books and 2400 large print format books, while nearly 200,000 learning resources are in the digital format.



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Zlatan Ibrahimovic poised for Sweden comeback


Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Image Credit: EPA

Dubai: As if he hadn’t turned enough heads with his sensational goals and evermore sensational outbursts, evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to international football at the age of 39, according to Swedish media reports.

Sweden, coached by Janne Andersson, have qualified for the Euros and kick off their campaign against Spain in Bilbao on June 14.

The return has been under discussion for several months, according to reports, but has not been confirmed by the Swedish football federation (SvFF).

“It is certain that the Milan star is making a comeback in Janne Andersson’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers,” said the site Footbolldirekt, in a report that was picked up by the Swedish national press.

The striker, who has 116 caps and 62 goals, has not worn the Swedish jersey since Euro 2016, where he was captain but failed to score as Sweden finished bottom of their group.

Last autumn, he said he “missed” wearing the yellow jersey. The SvFF said that the player then had a “good and fruitful” meeting with Andersson.

“The dialogue with Zlatan continues,” SvFF spokesman, Jakob Kakembo Andersson, told AFP on Saturday, adding that the players selected for the next matches, a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo and a friendly against Estonia, will be announced on March 16.

Ibrahimovic has scored 14 goals in 14 Serie A matches for AC Milan this season.

Ibrahimovic expressed an interest in playing in the 2018 World Cup, but Andersson opted not to recall the star. Sweden reached the quarter-finals.

The team then qualified without him for the Euro-2020, postponed to June and July 2021 because of COVID-19. They will face Spain, Poland and Slovakia in their group in the first round.



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Ravi Shastri spills the beans about Rishabh Pant’s success


Ravi Shastri, head coach of the Indian cricket team, said it took the team two and-a-half years of hard work to reach this level.
Image Credit: AP

Kolkata: The rising graph in Rishabh Pant’s performance over the last few months, both in front of the stumps as well as behind it, had been one of the major talking points in the last two Test series – and head coach Ravi Shastri spilled out the secret behind it.

‘‘We were hard on him, for nothing comes easy. There were never any doubts about his talent but he was told to give little more respect to the game and shed a few kilos of weight. He worked like a maniac in the last three to four months and the results are now showing,’’ said Shastri, who had been a mastermind behind the team’s outstanding performance in the new season.

Speaking to the official broadcasters after the hosts wrapped up the series 3-1 to seal a berth in World Test Championship (WTC) final, the former Indian allrounder was ecstatic about Pant’s century on Friday. ‘‘His yesterday’s innings was perhaps the best counter-attacking innings I have seen by an Indian in India. His innings had two phases, the first part was also difficult as he was playing against his grains and the pitch was spicy. Same with Washington Sundar – the way these youngsters have come through the ranks have been unreal,’’ he said.

Summing up the two back-to-back series wins against Australia on their soil and then England, Shastri said the best attribute about this bunch was that they refused to give up under any circumstances.

‘‘If you look at this side in the last last eight Tests, they have been under all kinds of situations. They had been at the top, they had been at a corner and they were at the dumps. They refused to give up under any circumstances,’’ he observed.

The self belief, according to him, did not come overnight. ‘‘To be on top of the table, it took two and-a-half years work and to reach there was another six years prior to that. The boys took one series at a time and were not really bothered about making the WTC final. We were heading the table at one stage and then suddenly this percentage rule came when we were not even playing. We have achieved our target with 520 points,’’ he said.

The margin of victory, according to Shastri, was not really a true reflection of the nature of the contest. ‘‘The result does not say how close the series was. In the first Test at Chennai, the boys were like zombies after the Australian tour but it was a magnificent performance from England. There were no crowds, everything was flat and so was the performance. A kick on the backside sometimes helps,’’ said Shastri, who does not believe in holding back any punches.

Finally, he credited the teamwork behind the success. Asked how they made it work, he said on a lighter note: ‘‘It was the bubble which brought us together. The boys have been together since the IPL and as professionals, the way they have responded to the challenge have been magnificent.’’



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WATCH: Lonergan nails 55-metre match-winning kick for Brumbies


Ryan Lonergan celebrates his winning kick for Brumbies
Image Credit: World Rugby Twitter

Canberra: Ryan Lonergan nailed a sensational 55-metre penalty in extra-time as a dogged ACT Brumbies battled past the Melbourne Rebels 27-24 to maintain their unbeaten start to the Super Rugby AU this season Saturday.

It was an 18th victory from their last 19 at GIO Stadium in Canberra to put them top of the five-team ladder on 14 points after three games of the 10-round competition, five ahead of the Queensland Reds who have a game in hand.

But they did it the hard way against an impressive Rebels, whose skipper Matt To’omua booted eight from eight penalties.

They were locked at 24-24 on the full-time siren when the Brumbies won a penalty inside their own half, with Lonergan stepping up to attempt a kick at an angle and in a swirling breeze, mobbed by his teammates after it dipped over the bar.

“That’s unreal, we’ve used our get out of jail card there,” said Brumbies captain Nic White.

“But not surprised with Lonergan, he does that in training all the time and awesome to see him get one on the game and nudge it for us.”

The Rebels, who narrowly lost to the Reds in their only other game so far, were physical and defended well to blunt the Brumbies’ natural setpiece game, but it was still not enough.

“It feels a little bit shallow,” admitted To’omua.

“I thought we were probably in control of our game for most parts, but to be honest I think we were the victim of our own ill discipline. Just some silly uncharacteristic errors.”

To’omua drilled a penalty in only the second minute to get the Rebels off to a flyer, only for the Brumbies’ Noah Lolesio to match the feat before To’omua struck again.

The Rebels enjoyed the early possession and To’omua booted his third to put them 9-3 in front.

But the Brumbies stuck to their game plan which culminated in Len Ikitau dotting down after a beautifully weighted grubber kick from Lolesio.

They asserted control but suffered a blow when Alan Alaalatoa was red-carded on half-time for a dangerous tackle. Under new rules a sent off player can be replaced after 20 minutes.

To’omua converted the resulting penalty to give the Rebels a 12-10 lead at the break.

But in a massive play after the restart, the Brumbies were awarded a seven-point penalty try and the Rebels’ James Hansen was sin-binned for collapsing the maul.

Two more To’omua penalties reclaimed the Rebels’ lead before a Tom Banks try with nine minutes left swung the momentum back to the Brumbies.

Yet another To’omua penalty made it 24-24 before Lonergan’s late heroics.



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How to watch Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships



Dubai: The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship kick off on Sunday, beginning with the women’s event, with the men’s competition hot on its heels next week.

It is a landmark event for the ladies as this year marks the 21st anniversary, while the men will be competing in the 29th ATP competition running until March 20.

While, due to coronavirus restrictions, fans will not be allowed to attend at the event at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Garhoud, you can still cheer on your favourites from the comfort and safety of your home, as Dubai Sports TV. will be covering all the action.

While Simona Halep has withdrawn due to an injured back, there is still plenty of big names on show, with top seed and world No. 5 Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic and Aryna Sabalenka fighting it out in week one.

Serial Dubai champion Roger Federer will be in town for the ATP competition as he returns from more than a year out through injury. Big guns Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev, Stan Wawrinka will also be eying the prize.



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Dubai asks cafés to stop serving beverages in baby bottles carried by customers



Dubai: Coffee shops in Dubai have been told to stop serving drinks in baby bottles after some customers were found bringing in their baby bottles and filling them up with beverages.

On Saturday, the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) Sector in Dubai Economy tweeted that it has directed coffee shops to stop the “negative practice”, which it was alerted about by social media users. “Such indiscriminate use of baby bottles is not only against local traditions but mishandling the bottle could contribute to the spread of COVID,” the tweet said.

Dubai Economy called on the public to report any “negative practices” they come across through the Dubai Consumer App or by calling 600545555, or via Consumerrights.ae website.

It wasn’t clear why some customers wanted to be served in baby bottles.



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Cricket: India crush England in fourth Test to seal series 3-1



Dubai: India thumped England by an innings and 25 runs inside three days on Saturday to win the fourth Test and seal their series 3-1.

Spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin claimed all 10 wickets to dismiss England for 135 in their second innings in Ahmedabad. Dan Lawrence made 50.

England fell for 205 on day one with India replying with 365.

Virat Kohli’s India bounced back from an opening defeat to win three in a row and book their meeting with New Zealand in the World Test Championship at Lord’s in June.



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50 Sunny years: Sunil Gavaskar


Sunil Gavaskar [second from left] with Anis Sajan [first from right] and family taken at Anis’s residence on 4 April 2015 while celebrating the 4th anniversary of India’s 2011 World Cup win
Image Credit: Supplied

50 years ago, a young man from Mumbai made his debut for India against a fearsome West Indies team and scored 771 runs. India went on to win an incredible series 2/1 against the mighty Windies that year.

Sunil Gavaskar’s debut record is still intact.

In 1987, Gavaskar also became the first cricketer to score 10,000 runs for India against Pakistan in the Motera stadium, the same one where India is playing the last match of the series. Gavaskar went on to break Sir Donald Bradman’s record of 29 centuries in Test Cricket in 1983 and eventually scored 34 centuries for Team India.

He was the first to carry the bat against Pakistan in 1978-79, while in Pakistan, and showcased why he was India’s best opening batsman. Gavaskar was also part of India’s World Cup win under Kapil Dev in 1983.

His last innings in Test cricket was magnificent, batting 94 on a spinning track against Pakistan which is still rated as one of his best test innings.

Sunny Gavaskar is now a renowned commentator, and his analysis of the game is second to none.

He is a living legend and I dare say the original Little Master who has inspired millions across the world with his temperament – which is required at the highest level, when playing Test cricket.

We are all proud of you…



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Why is this blind US SC judge walking for hours in Dubai


Richard H. Bernstein, American lawyer and Michigan Supreme Court Justice, after an interview with Gulf News at Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Seven thousand miles away from Michigan a blind man seals the fate of scores of people in the US state these days as he walks briskly along the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk in Dubai, often for six hours at a stretch.

But then Justice Richard Bernstein, 46, is no ordinary man. He is the first visually impaired judge elected by 1.29 million voters to the Supreme Court of Michigan — a position that requires him to oversee 800 judges as well as deliver verdicts in cases ranging from murder and rape to tax evasion.

judge-richard-bernstein-1
Justice Richard Bernstein is the first visually impaired judge elected by 1.29 million voters to the Supreme Court of Michigan.
Image Credit: Supplied

“I am responsible for 25 cases every week. These are people whose entire lives hang in the balance. People, who in many situations, have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of a parole,” said Bernstein who has been blind since birth due to a genetic disorder called retinitis pigmentosa.

‘Love at first sight’

“Those who come to our appellate court have only one chance to appeal and whatever we decide within that appeal is the final decision. I cannot make a mistake so I memorise and internalise each case and I do that while walking back and forth for up to 35 kilometres on the boardwalk that hugs the coastline behind my hotel. As I am walking I am playing the cases in my mind, thinking what could be a fair and merciful verdict,” he explained.

Bernstein came to Dubai in January hoping to visit Jerusalem but he liked the UAE so much that he stayed back.

“It was love at first sight,” he said, chuckling at the oddity of his own comment. “But truth be told, I absolutely love the UAE. I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world but I have to say that there’s no place like the UAE,” he when we met at Atlantis, The Palm — his work-from-home station for the past six weeks.

“As a blind person it is very challenging to travel and do things on your own. But the beauty of this country is that you are never alone,” he gushed as he effortlessly bounded down the hotel stairs and stepped outside the hotel to begin his daily routine. “Thirty more steps and we will be there,” he said, tapping his collapsible walking stick against the sidewalks. “So many people have helped me around here that I know this area like the back of my hand.”

jUDGE-WITH-jUHI-YASMEEN-THIRD-FROM-LEFT-AND-A-SPECIAL-NEEDS-CHILD-RIGHT
Judge Bernstein with Juhi Yasmeen (third from left) and a special needs child (right) in Dubai.
Image Credit: Supplied

Bernstein said he isn’t leaving Dubai anytime soon as the coronavirus pandemic has allowed him to work remotely. But unlike his colleagues he can’t rely on platforms like Zoom.

Virtual assistant

Instead he uses his virtual assistant Siri to call any of his six clerks who read out the transcripts of each case over the phone. “Of course, I have to factor the time difference. I can’t make notes so I have to know all cases, which means memorising everything down to the minutest details. (Bernstein doesn’t use the Braille). On most days I work for up to 16 hours. It’s like running a marathon.”

Bernstein should know about them, having run 24 marathons over the years — the last seven despite suffering excruciating back pain following a an accident at Central Park in New York in 2012.

Blind judges

The metaphor connecting blindness and fair verdict has been embodied through the image of a blindfolded woman who represents justice but there aren’t too many judicial officers with visual impairment. The most famous blind judge was Justice Zakeria Mohammad Yacoob who headed the constitutional court of South Africa till 2013. Other notable exceptions are Yousaf Saleem of Pakistan, Dr Hans Eugene Schulze of Germany and Shree Sadhan Gupta of India.

He has also done a full Ironman triathlon, which included a 180km bike ride, 42km marathon and nearly 4km swim, without a break. “I am a spiritual person and I love athletics as it allows my soul and spirit to transcend the limitations of my body and make a deeper connection with God. I am a Jew but I love the Quran which is so wise. Islam also encourages exercise and being in good physical shape. I firmly believe that the body should always be in motion.”

Tireless advocate

Before being elected to Michigan’s highest court in 2014, Bernstein worked as a lawyer and was known as a tireless advocate for people with special needs.

He still travels around the world to interact with people with disabilities. Last fortnight he met a family with a special-needs child. The meeting was arranged by Dubai-based social worker Juhi Yasmeen Khan.

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Judge Bernstein during a marathon run in 2013.
Image Credit: Supplied

Bernstein said he wants to instill self-belief in people with disabilities and change perceptions about them.

“You can triumph over adversity with faith and perseverance. I spent 10 weeks in hospital when a speeding cyclist crashed into me in Central Park. The accident left me with a broken hip and pelvis. The pain was intense but I never let it get the better off me and was soon back on my feet ready to sign for the next marathon,” he said.

Bernstein said people with disabilities have immense potential. “The real challenge is to make able-bodied people believe what we can accomplish. I am often asked, ‘how can you be a judge when you can’t see a crime scene or look into a piece of evidence’. My argument is that we are able to understand and sense people’s spirit because we don’t see them.

Can’t prejudge anyone

“What is the greatest distraction?” he asked and then answered the question himself. “It’s visual distraction. As a blind judge we don’t have to worry about that. We can’t prejudge anyone simply because we don’t know what they look like. So I would venture out to say that a blind judge is a better judge than a sighted one, because isn’t that the truth — justice is blind.”



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